Shakespeare, Macbeth, Power, Greed, War on Drugs or War on the Poor

 Stars hide your fires, let not light see my black and deep desires“… Stars, hide your fires!
Let not light see my black and deep desires.”

(Macbeth, act 1, sc. 4)

Comment.  Deciphering the motives of the attitudes of men is as interesting as to determine the characteristics of a mineral or a plant.
To instill an attitude into the crowd, the “monster with uncounted heads”, assault it with an unending relentless repetition of a few words, irrespective of their topic significance. In this article we talk about the “war on drugs”, but it could well apply to the endless strings of advertising words whose very sound hides their true meaning, which is:  buy, appear, consume, use and discard.

A few come to mind,  “free delivery”, “free estimates”, “money back guarantee”, “free installation”,  “free parking”, “no cash? No problem”, “no hidden charges”, “no entry fees”, “no purchase necessary”, “limited time only” “batteries not included”, “some assembly required”, “entry fees not refundable”, “void where prohibited”, “free consultation”, “free complementary bonus gift”, “some restrictions apply”, “some items not available”, “no red tape”, “no payment or interest until December”, “employees not eligible”, “offer good while supplies last”, “mileage may vary”, “all sales are final”, “allow six weeks for delivery” etc.

But let’s return to the ‘war on drugs’, three words that glide on the tongue as easily as the buzzwords of the previous paragraph.  Their constant and drumming repetition suggests a kind of historical permanence, as if it were impossible to think of a time without a “war on drugs”.

Nothing is further from the truth and for some visitors the matter will be a surprise. No time or space here for a complete analysis, but a few examples may suffice.

In the XIXth century and well into the XXth, drugs were omnipresent.

** Coca Cola, as the name suggests, contained coca leaves extract.

** Cocaine is an effective local anesthetic, and some of the earliest uses of cocaine was for its local anesthetic properties as in the renowned “Cocaine toothache drops”

There were cocaine-containing throat lozenges, sold as “indispensable for singers, teachers, and orators.” They soothed a sore throat and ensured optimal performance.

popular tonic drink of end of XIX century, coca wine, even endorsed by the Pope** Conan Doyle himself has Sherlock Holmes habitually sniffing cocaine.

** Then there was the famous cocaine laced “Vin Mariani” as per the advertisement from Harper’s Magazine of 1894. The caption below the photograph reads, “Your marvelous  Tonic needs certainly no further recommendation as everyone is familiar with it, and no one would be without it. I claim ‘VIN MARIANI’ can have no equal; it will live forever.” The script further adds that Vin Mariani has “over 7000 endorsements from prominent physicians in Europe and America”.

** Coca-wine was so popular that even Pope Leo XIII This very popular tonic drink was even endorsed by the Pope of the timeendorsed it, as from the image.

** Even amphetamines were sold as “Benzedrine”  It was marketed under this brand name in the USA  by Smith, Kline and French in the form of inhalers  as of 1933. Benzedrine was used to enlarge nasal and bronchial passages.

bayer containing heroin before the war on drugs and the war on the poor** Consider the Bayer Heroin, “the sedative for coughs”, as in the image.

In the circumstances what caused such a radical change of attitude toward drugs that, as per history, were not only deemed legal but beneficial?

The answer is simple. Chinese immigrants regularly used opium. Americans viewed with resentment Chinese immigrants as they stole jobs from the American. Hence the war on opium became actually a war on the Chinese.

Then more Mexican immigrants arrived in America and they smoked marijuana. Whereupon a war on marijuana became de facto a war on the Mexicans.

But “never resting time leads summer on to hideous winter”. For American inner cities, the winter came first with the exodus to the suburbs, which suddenly deprived millions of jobs. And now with the various crisis and globalization, job deprivation affects not only the minorities but the poor at large, irrespective of race.

In a society that has made drugs illegal and therefore expensive, the poor resort to selling drugs as the job of choice because there are no other.

And let’s discount the sanctimonious  declarations of dismay at why people sell drugs. The war on drugs is a war on the poor. Besides, it is an opportunity for the elites to feed the industry of greed and to acquire additional fabulous wealth via the enormous and costly machinery to “combat” crime, the thriving “custodial industry”.

Which explains why 2.5 million people are in jail, the largest percentage for drug law violations. And which also explains why the “war on drugs” is the never-ending war of Orwell’s 1984. Because, as it is well known in the inner circles of the drug business, the kingpins of the drug trade in the US of A are “untouchable”.

And the stars must indeed hide their fires  so that the light may not expose the obviously black and deep desires of the powers-that-be to destroy the poor at the cost and detriment of the rest.

Tips for Use.  Change ‘my’ to ‘your’. Throw it in with nonchalance when you suspect your adversary of perfidious intents.

In the play.  Macbeth begins to concoct the plan (and the murders) that will lead him to become king of Scotland, as the witches had predicted.

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